Batman/Catwoman #3 (April 2021)

Chapter III: God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen

Writer: Tom King, Art: Clay Mann, Colours: Tomeu Morey

It’s been the Joker all along, you see.

Selina Kyle knows this. Early in her career as Catwoman, he was there to mess things up for her. Same with later, when she and Batman were finally getting together…for the third time, but still. That time stuck. No thanks to the Joker. Or to Phantasm, who now has her sights set on Catwoman because she thinks that will be her in to get after the Joker herself. And she has to do it before Batman gets to him first.

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It’s hard reviewing a Tom King comic. You quickly run out of ways to say that it is hard to follow, to the point you don’t understand it, but you get the feeling it’s one of the best things that you are reading right now and you know it will all make sense in the end.

King’s tenure on Batman is coming to an end with this now out of continuity 12 part epic.  This story is becoming more a Catwoman’s Christmas Carol, we don’t have any physical ghost visiting her but we visit her past, present, and future, and less of a Batman tale, to the point that he is dead in the future story.

It’s the future segments that are the most interesting and King has the most freedom to tell something fresh.  Not since the original Earth-2 tales have there been post-Bruce Wayne Batman stories set within normal continuity. Bruce and Selina have an adult daughter named Helena who is the new Batwoman and she is carrying on her fathers work.  Along with Dick Grayson, now the Commisioner of Gotham, she is investigating the murder of The Joker,  killed by Selina in the previous issue, and seem to be fully aware of what has happened but just can’t prove it.  She meets with her mother who has become distant, cold, and talking about how she has come from nothing and is now the richest woman in the world.

In the past storyline Catwoman has had a closer working relationship with the Joker than has previously been revealed and he clearly has some hold over her.  He is carrying out despicable acts which could lead back to her without telling her and she needs to stop Bruce from finding out.  King delivers a creepy scene where Selina cracks an office safe and the Joker is tucked inside of it just waiting to talk to her. He says she needs to choose who she is.

In the present we get the continuation of Bruce’s investigation into why The Phantasm has returned to Gotham. She is killing former Joker henchmen all over town and Bruce uses his normal interrogation techniques on the Joker to find out why. While he is doing this the Phantasm is attacking Selina in her bedroom at Wayne Manor. The brief fight ends with them both unconscious on the ground outside the Manor after falling out the window.

So, what I am getting the story to be is Selina has done something with the Joker in the past that is causing the Phantasm to hunt her in the present but Selina hasn’t been able to resolve things and kill the Joker until Bruce is dead in the future.

I’m struggling to follow it but I like it.

⭐⭐⭐⭐

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